The BNP Paribas Open, which was the primary main American sports activities occasion to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, introduced its comeback on Thursday.
The prestigious tennis event, staged yearly in Indian Wells, Calif., was not held in 2020 and was postponed this yr from its common dates in March.
But after intensive negotiations with skilled tennis’s quite a few stakeholders, the occasion can be held in October. The exact dates haven’t been decided as a result of the boys’s and ladies’s excursions should not set to finalize their late-season calendars till June. But Tommy Haas, a former participant who directs the event, mentioned the BNP Paribas Open could be staged with full prize cash.
Many tennis occasions have decreased prize cash through the pandemic due to the lack of ticket and sponsorship income. The Miami Open, which was held in March after being canceled in 2020, slashed its compensation. Singles champions earned $1.35 million in 2019 however simply $300,000 in 2021. The drastic cuts prompted complaints from John Isner, the 2018 males’s winner, and different gamers in regards to the transparency of the decision-making course of.
But Haas mentioned the BNP Paribas Open was dedicated to sustaining prize cash at its customary ranges.
“I think that’s something the players are going to be really, really happy about,” Haas mentioned in a videoconference name on Thursday. “That’s how it should be. They’ve gone through obviously some hard times. Their schedule has been sort of upside down with travel restrictions and trying to be in one bubble after another. I’m hoping that things will be a little easier come October playing for the prize money that we think they deserve.”
The BNP Paribas Open, owned by the American billionaire Larry Ellison, is especially fashionable with gamers due to its desert location, intensive amenities and relaxed environment. It has develop into essentially the most vital tennis occasion exterior the 4 Grand Slam tournaments and the season-ending championships for the ATP and the WTA.
“As a German-American citizen, I’m going to call it my own little Oktoberfest this year, which is going to be great, especially since Munich already had to cancel,” mentioned Haas, referring to the annual German festival that will not be staged this year.
The 2020 BNP Paribas Open was canceled just ahead of the qualifying tournament in March after a coronavirus case was detected in the area and Riverside County, Calif., public health officials declared a state of emergency. Many players, including the Spanish star Rafael Nadal, were already on site. The decision came so swiftly that many players and officials found out through social media.
“As soon as we canceled, we went to work the next day to see how we were going to bring this back,” said Philippe Dore, the tournament’s media and marketing director. “I think we’re on our Version 25 of budgets and different scenarios.”
More than 450,000 spectators attended the event in 2019, and Haas said he hoped to have a large number of fans again in October. California has been loosening pandemic-related restrictions in certain counties and is aiming to fully reopen its economy next month. Tickets for the BNP Paribas Open are tentatively scheduled to go on sale June 21.
“We’re going to follow all the guidelines,” Haas said. “Safety is obviously the highest concern. It comes first, and we want to make sure everyone is very, very comfortable.”